Pakistan's over-reliance on Babar, Rizwan 'an area to exploit': David Miller

David Miller responded to questions on Pakistan opening pair's persistent struggles in the ongoing T20 World Cup. 
 
David Miller

David Miller identified struggles at the top as one major chink in Pakistan's armoury ahead of the clash at SCG. 

David Miller indirectly agreed Pakistan are overly reliant on the performances of Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan ahead of the two teams' key T20 World Cup encounter on Thursday (November 3). The South African batting stalwart even called it an "area to exploit" for his team's bowlers as Pakistan enter a must-win Super 12s game at SCG. 

Pakistan's only win of the tournament has arrived against the Netherlands, with them going down in final-ball thrillers against arch-rivals India and the spirited Zimbabweans. The struggles of skipper Babar and his ally Rizwan at the top have put the pressure directly on their unstable middle order and it has failed to respond astutely to it. 

Heading into the tournament, the opening pair was at the core of Pakistan's strategy of building a foundation and asking the rest of the pack to back their powerhitting game. But three games in, Rizwan has only 67 runs, swelled mainly out of his 49 versus the Dutch, while Babar has managed only eight runs. 

David Miller said repeated problems in scoring would mean a not-so-confident Babar-Rizwan pairing at the top, something that the South African seamers would look to exploit on the back of their own fruitful outing versus the might of India in Perth. 

David Miller on Babar-Rizwan's struggles 

 "I think it is an area to exploit," he said at the pre-match press conference. "This game is all about confidence, and yeah, they haven't probably performed the way they've wanted to, but they're world-class players, and we're expecting them to come out and bring their A-game and be up for the challenge."

"It's by all means not just going in there and expecting to get them out first ball or early up. We've got to work really hard for every wicket, and hopefully we can get them early and put the Pakistan middle order under pressure a little bit earlier than later," Miller added. 

Miller was addressing the media on the back of personal glory against India as he continued his rich vein of form with a match-winning half-century in a tricky chase in Perth. Keeping an impressive Indian bowling attack at bay, the player showcased his strong technique and temperament through a knock of 59* off 46 deliveries and propelled the Proteas to the 134-run target with two balls remaining. 

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The experienced left-hander displayed maturity and gumption that helped South Africa avoid a choke, something they've historically had a notorious reputation for. David Miller said it was a case of all the past experiences coming together and helping him navigate through a chase where South Africa were 3 for 40 at the 10-over mark and could've easily gone down feeling the need to slog under pressure. 

"Yeah, I mean, it has been a good ride the last year, year and a half. For me personally, I just try to draw back on past experiences. I feel like experience is a really valuable thing, and for example, on the previous game, we were in a little bit of trouble, a lot of pressure to win the game, obviously, and it's just about slowing the process down, understanding what is required right now," he said. 

The player credited his fellow half-centurion Aiden Markram for keeping him calm in the middle and ensuring he didn't need to push on the accelerator until deep into the innings when he smashed R Ashwin in the 18th over and eased up the task significantly. 

"I feel like in the past we maybe could have got a little hasty. I really struggled up front whereas Aiden was playing really well. So there was a lot of dot balls, and you can get a bit edgy and try and just counterattack as such. So I just try to slow myself down and realise that if I get through this period, the partnership is way more important than me just going out and giving my wicket away."

"It did help that Aiden was going really, really well, and then picked up one boundary, and the momentum kind of swings your way," Miller added.